Killer Whales

To be honest, I don’t remember much about you at all. You were the mother of my first boyfriend, and you were always rather accepting of my presence. It was a nice change of pace in those early days of being out, to know there were parents who actually did embrace who their children were, when my own had such struggles in accepting me.

Of course, that relationship lasted only a few months, and you were soon a non-entity in my life. I have little reason to think about him these days, let alone you. Because sometimes the relationships that were once important become lost with time, and it’s ultimately easier to forget people than any of us would like to admit.

But it’s the fact I let myself forget you that makes me feel so guilty, and it’s again another New Year’s Day and I find myself thinking of the horror of your death. Not only were you killed by a drunk driver as soon as the New Year had begun, but the person who killed you was released from the hospital and, based on a little research, apparently never seen again.

I watched in silence as someone I once held dear had to cope with a true nightmare. What can anyone say in this situation? After not speaking in years, was there anything to say? So I didn’t speak. I said nothing, yet here I am now, still thinking about it. And there’s still so many questions left to answer, and I know every New Year’s is going to be another reminder that you were stolen so suddenly.

I’ve been lucky so far in my life, having lost few close people, and those I have at least had ‘expected’ deaths that allowed me to come to some sort of terms beforehand. We were able to say goodbye in hospital rooms – though I ultimately wasn’t there for either in their final moments, too afraid to confront their deaths and not seeing purpose when one was largely unconscious by the end and the other was lost to dementia. I didn’t want to remember either like that – but at least I had a choice.

How does anyone cope with something so sudden, so violent and without justice? Even from this distance, there’s this overwhelming sense of hopelessness when I think about your death.

But I know you are missed, because in that brief time we existed in each other’s lives, it was so very clear how loved you were. Because, despite how little I remember, I was always in awe of how close you were with your son. That kind of a parental bond, it seemed unfathomable to me at the time. There was so much love there, and though you are gone, I know that love you gave carries on.

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